What you need to know:
- On June 30, 1960, the Congo tentatively declared itself free from Belgian rule, and UN peacekeeping forces were stationed there to aid the transition.
Title: The Lumumba Plot
Release date: Oct 3, 2023
Available at: Amazon
Cost: About Shs112,350
The Lumumba Plot is an evenhanded work of deep scholarship that clearly elucidates a largely hidden piece of U.S. foreign policy.
The plot hatched by the CIA under the Eisenhower administration to rid the newly independent Congo of its elected prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, was considered a “model” intervention at the time. As Reid, an executive editor at Foreign Affairs, shows, the Congo proved to be the first “theater” in which the U.S. and the Soviet Union transformed the Cold War “into a truly global struggle.”
The author underscores how ill-advised American officials were at the time about Lumumba and his supposed communist intentions. Fears of a communist takeover were perpetuated by the CIA’s station chief in the Congo at the time, Larry Devlin, and others who failed to fully grasp the significance of many African nations’ long struggles to decolonize.
On June 30, 1960, the Congo tentatively declared itself free from Belgian rule, and UN peacekeeping forces were stationed there to aid the transition. However, UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, wary of the newly elected Lumumba, who he thought “was being used by leftist Africans and the Soviet Union,” refused his plea for more aid to help quell a military mutiny and secessionist worries. When Lumumba turned to the Soviets for help, the Americans sprang into action.
Reid grippingly narrates the horrific tale of Lumumba’s imprisonment, torture, and execution by the henchmen of then-army chief Joseph Mobutu, a former Lumumba protégé and eager recipient of American cash. Sifting through significant new documentation, the author casts tremendous clarity on this important period and how essentially the world looked away.
“The rest of the world seemed to decide [that] in the Congo, occasional barbarity was the price of stability.”